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Clean Up Day at Apalachicola National Forest

The day dawned bright and cool with a slight breeze as we gathered at Rivers Road Trailhead for the new (first ever) mini trash cleanup in the national forest (you may be aware the annual trash cleanup takes place in February and STA has been a participant since it was established) . The forest has been without official law enforcement detail for seven weeks due to our officer being injured in an accident so the “emergency” cleanup event was created because he feared, by his absence, that people would take advantage of the situation and dump stuff. We pray and wish for his complete recovery from his injuries.
It didn’t take long to discover that two different STA work groups would participate. These groups came together as a result of reconnaissance efforts on our four trails to determine where trash was located. The blue trail (longest one) was the “winner” for having trash at two of our “watering” locations and the other trails were clear. Lyn, Katrina, Tram and Herb rode with Sue in her gator to pick up the trash. Ron and Charlotte rode their horses and did overhead trimming on the orange trail.

The trash on the north end of the blue trail was located at a beautiful cypress pond and on the way there we discovered more gopher tortoise enclosures have been erected. (These enclosures have erosion control material attached to wooden posts and cover large areas. The gopher tortoises were removed from other areas of the forest where timbering would occur and when replanting is completed they will be returned to their “home” area.) We also had to do some overhead trimming and move large trees to the side of the road so we could get the gator through to the trash. There was also trash on the south end on the “way back” trail at another pond. To get to this area, we continued down the blue trail (trimming and removing debris) to the gas line and then used it to get to the “way back” trail. After cleaning up the trash on the south side, we decided to check the portion of the yellow trail that goes to Crawfordville Hwy. We discovered some markers have been removed but we were able to follow the trail thanks to Lyn’s excellent memory. We discovered a huge fallen oak tree on the trail and Herb did a great job of finding a safe route around it. All in all, we collected three horse feed bags of trash in three hours. Many thanks to Lyn for bringing the bags and to Herb for bringing his loppers. Katrina did an excellent job overhead trimming from the back of the gator! Tram and Herb were great at moving trees off the road and breaking big limbs. Sue did her best to make the gator ride as safe and comfortable as possible.

Fall Benefit Ride November 18th at Crowder Farms to benefit Triple R Horse Rescue.

View the full post here!

Quarterly Meeting and Pool Party!

Join us for some fun in the sun! The fun starts at 2:00PM so bring your swimsuit and cool off in the pool! Dinner will be served at 5:00PM. We are asking that you bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert, depending on the first letter of your last name. If your last name begins with A—D, please bring an appetizer. E—R: bring a side dish. S—Z: bring a dessert. Spiral ham, Iced tea, and water will be provided. Please RSVP via text or voicemail to Wendy Trawick at 850-509-3913 or wendy.trawick@gmail.com. Ask Wendy for directions.

April 15, 2017 – Phipps Park

What a gorgeous day for a ride and that we did. Thirteen riders showed up at Phipps Park for a two hour ride. Several riders went out separately as they were our speedy riders. The rest of us sauntered off into the woods for an adventure. Fortunately Luanne, who knows Phipps quite well, was with us today helping me “lead”. She guided us through woods, fields and we even rode part of the Red Hills course checking out how the jumps looked right next to our horses. Nancy was determined to take her horse over one of those jumps but we managed to talk her out of it – see the picture. Gee, sitting on your horse right next to those jumps sure puts a different perspective on things. We even stopped to let our horses graze a bit. All in all, it was a relaxing day, but then again, anytime I’m on my horse, it’s a relaxing day. Sharon

Benefit Poker Ride Scheduled for Saturday May 6th

We will be holding a benefit Poker Run Ride on Saturday May 6th at the Rivers Road trailhead of the Apalachicola National Forest to raise money for Rainbow’s Edge Training Stable.  Registration fee is $10 per person and lunch will be available for purchase after the ride.  We will also have a Derby Hat contest since it is Kentucky Derby Day!

February 18, 2017 – Joe Bud WMA

Eight riders and horses showed up Sunday to enjoy our Joe Budd ride; Sharon and General; Wendy and Amos; Kathy and Sunny; Bob and Hooker; Linda and Goldie; Terri and Star; James and Sugar; Ambrose and Sally. What a gorgeous day it was and I believe everybody enjoyed the ride. As we rode through the woods, we crossed over many downed trees, through several streams and up several fairly steep hills giving everybody a feel for what their horses can really do. Much of the trip we were overlooking the river. This is a beautiful trail and well worth riding. If you get the urge to go, there’s no hunting through March 10, so you still have time to ride there any day of the week. Sharon

January 28, 2017 – Otter Lake

Three riders braved the cold morning to enjoy a 3 hour ride at the beautiful Otter Lake trail in Panacea. Pam and Flashy, Nancy and Reel, and Gaye and Max had a great time riding, socializing, and enjoying the scenery in the St. Marks National Refuge. Nancy’s Montana horse, Rebel was right at home in the cooler temperature. The only complaint about the cold weather was our cold toes after the ride. We warmed them up at the Seinyard Restaurant at Wildwood Country Club in Medart, enjoying a seafood lunch after the ride. Great day, great ride, and great company!


January 15, 2017 – Alford Arms Greenway

In the early afternoon on Sunday, January 15, 2017, 13 horses and riders, including two guests, came out to en- joy the sunshine at Alford Arms Greenway. The group included Megan on Gus, Rocky on Silk, Ambrose on Sally, Chris on Ripple, Carole on Paxon, Janet on Charlie, Nancy on Gypsy, Mike on Sage, Gaye on Max, Linda on Scarlet, Paulina on Cedar, Morgan Bowman on her polo pony Sabrina, and Debbie Lightsey on borrowed Arabian Farley. We broke up into two major groups, one primarily interested in a slow ride, and the other in a medium-speed ride with energetic walking and some jogging. Riders were asked to avoid the single track as it is deteriorating, and cau- tioned to expect a train around 3 PM. We all started out following the tree line through the fields by the parking ar- ea, but soon the groups went in different direc- tions and the medium- speed group broke off with some a bit faster. That group weaved in and out of the various fields to add time and distance to their ride, then headed into the woods. It was fun for us to stop while Morgan  took Sabrina over a downed tree just off the trail. Later on there was opportunity for a nice canter, during which Cedar showed the big guys he has what it takes, and then a couple of people cantered completely around one of the big fields. It was more than a bit hot, so the pace slowed to cool out. All of the groups returned safely to the parking lot about two hours after ride-out. Everyone was smiling and happy, and a few comments about “best ride ever” were overheard. So happy to ride with no bugs this time of year! Thank you to everyone who came out!



December President’s Message

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

Tis the season to remember those we love, and gather together to celebrate the holidays. I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful year, made new friends and been able to share the trails with your horse or mule. We are very blessed to have weather that allows riding for the majority of the calendar year, and especially blessed with mild winters.

The leaves have fallen, covering some of our trails but also exposing some trail cleanup that is needed.

The Apalachicola National Forest Trail Clean-up event is set for March 4th, at 8 a.m. followed by a hosted lunch. Be saving your empty horse feed bags for us to fill with trash. We make a statement when bag after bag of horse feed is added to the trash collected versus those from non-equine groups. We will be scheduling a trail maintenance at Fort Braden Trails too, as the East Loop has a couple of spots where the trail signs are not visible.

By now you should have received your invitation to our Annual Dinner on Saturday, January 7th, at the Leon County Horsemen’s

Association Building. The social is at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. It is a bring your own booze but STA will furnish water, tea, soft drinks and coffee. STA is also furnishing the meat, both turkey and ham, as well as plates, cups, napkins and silverware. You are asked to bring a dish to share based upon your last name. Board Members are bringing des- serts as well as door prizes. Hopefully, we will have a good turnout, but do be sure to RSVP so we know how many tables and chairs to set up. The cost is $5.00 per person.

Finally, thank you for the opportunity to have served as your President for 2016. I am proud of our accomplishments: the growth in our membership, expansion of trail rides to days other than Saturday mornings, and non- riding fellowship events. All of these things were requested by the members at our January 2016 Annual Meeting. Our trail rides are attracting a larger number of riders, enough that we break into 2-3 groups. It has been rewarding to see riders enjoying the fellowship of other trail riding equestrians along one of our many trail locations, all because a group of riders 26 years ago identified a need to join their voices to seek areas to ride our horses. Our region has grown in population, with pressures for non- equine uses on our public lands. I am so thankful that those founding members formed Southern Trailriders Association, and that as we move into our 27th year, our organization has the opportunity to add even more riding locations, such as the St. Marks Headwaters Greenway, Torreya State Park and the Upper St. Marks River Corridor.

Happy Trails!



December 10, 2016 – Crump Road

What a beautiful day for a ride! When I arrived, Linda and Blondie were already there passing around the sign-up sheet. They were the first to arrive! Those of you who know Linda are aware of just how amazing this was! Sharon arrived was also there Cricket and General. She hauled General for Luanne to ride. Sue was there with her 25 year- old mare Sadie, as well as Ambrose with his mount Sally. While we were tacking up, Luanne arrived with her daughter Emily. They hauled Buck for Emily to ride and Luanne rode General.

10 am rolled around quick and Sue and Ambrose were ready to go, so they headed down the trail at a slow pace so we could catch up. At least that was the plan! The rest of the group started down the trail about 10:10. We came across several people riding bikes and jogging. Everyone was very courteous to us and made sure they went by us cautiously.

The trail was in good shape except for a narrow part that we took on the way back. There were some areas that could use some “lopping”. We also chatted about how it would be nice if we could see better to cross the road. It is difficult to see when it is safe to cross, so one of us dismounted each time we needed to go across.

We (the second group) rode for 2.5 hours, and when we arrived at the trail head Sue and Ambrose had not yet returned. We never caught up with them or encountered them on the trail. We hung around and visited for a while, and after another hour they arrived. They said they road all the way to the big field at Thornton Road, and they couldn’t go slow because Sadie was in a hurry the entire ride! She apparently has many more trails to enjoy before she retires!
It was a great ride!

Happy Trails,
Wendy and Famous Amos

October 22, 2016 – Rivers Road

Nineteen riders set out on this beautiful Fall day to ride the Blue Trail off of Rivers Road. The sun was shining and the air was cool and dry. Sue Noyes and Ron Tuttle led this ride with the following riders: Jennette and Jud, Katrina, Bailey, Ambrose, Charlotte, Pam, Doell, Lavater, Tonya, Becky, Chris, Herb, Liz, Lyn and Paula, and Leatha. Just as we were about to enter the second stand of trees, one of our horse and rider teams took a tumble on a mound of sand. After the horse scrambled up, the rider was okay too and everyone enjoyed the rest of the ride. Several deer were spotted on this ride and the fall flowers and dappled sunlight put a few horses in a frisky mood. Four riders went on ahead, making this slow/fast ride a pleasure for everyone.

November 25, 2016 – Fort Braden

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for riding and clearly, 13 other riders felt the same as me!  We rode out in 3 groups to lessen the dust and make the ride more enjoyable for all.  2 groups rode the East Loop while one rode the West Loop.  There was evidence of fallen trees along both trails, likely a result of Hurricane Hermine.  Some of the larger trees has been cut through but other times the trail was briefly re-routed around the debris.  We had some horses wary of crossing water, but as is always the case on a STA ride, we ride to be inclusive and work with one another.  By the time a third water obstacle arose, all horses crossed without incident.

We did have campers at the trail head and also more campers using the horse stalls, which is great to see.

Members/equines pairings were: Janet/Charlie; Tonya/Lady; Gary/No More; Herb/General; Sharon/Cricket; Nancy/Rebel; Pam/Flashy; Ambrose/Sally; Ron/Mini; Linda/Blondie; Terry/Jake; and Kathleen/Sunny.  Two guests also joined our ride: Tram/Harley and Percy/Tequila.

As Pam remarked, this ride had quite a few new members and it was great to see the strong turnout for this special Black Friday Ride.  It sure was more enjoyable than shopping with thousands.  Some riders loaded up and headed home after the 2-2.5 hour ride, while others ate lunch together.  Gary and Jake hit the trail for more riding, as clearly 8 miles just wasn’t enough for them!  Till next time, Happy Trails!  Janet — Ride Leader.  Photo credits: Terry and Sharon

November President’s Message

Are you enjoying your saddle time in this cooler, drier weather? I sure am. We have had more riders join our Association and our rides, which is wonderful to see. The Halloween Costume Ride brought out the imagination of our members and our thanks to Lyn for sponsoring the prizes awarded.

We have more rides scheduled, such as our Black Friday Ride at Fort Braden Trails led by yours truly. More rides are listed in our calendar, so check them out.

New trails are in the works as well, such as the St. Marks Headwaters Greenway. The proposed equestrian trail had located off Baum Road, between Buck Lake Road and Capitol Road had its final review November 2nd, and now will take about 90 days for construction bids, then another 4-5 months allowed for construction. We will let you know when it is open and ready to ride. Our Annual Meeting is set, and it will be at the Leon County Horseman’s Association Building again, on Saturday, January 7th, 2017. Social at 5p.m., and dinner at 6 p.m. We ask members to bring a dish for the event. The membership has been divided alphabetically by last name for appetizers, salads and vegetable, both hot and cold. Board Members will bring desserts and the STA will furnish the meat, both ham and turkey, as well as tableware. Bring your own beverages! The cost is $5.00 per person, to cover the building rental, meat and decorations. Invitations will be mailed soon. Sharon Haughton is chairing the event with the help of Megan Altavilla, Jud Curtis and Wendy Trawick. As always, new officers will be elected as well as members to serve on your Board of Directors.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful for the work of STA and its founding mem- bers in their work to provide us with so many great places to ride in our area.

Happy Trails!

November 5, 2016 – Aenon Church Road

Ron was supposed to lead this ride, but alas poor Ron came down with a 6 day intestinal flu bug and Jud was asked to fill in. And we had an exceptional ride. The weather was blue bird perfect. Not too cool and not too warm and bright and sunny. The horses were mostly frisky and rearing to go. We rode down the power lines a long ways in the morning sun and ducked into the woods quite aways further down than usual. Pretty soon we encountered the metal bridge that horses aren’t fond of so Paula got off and lead Hoss across and all the rest of the gang followed like sheep. After that we rode through some truly beautiful forest property and ended up crossing the power lines again and rode the other side of the trails near Crowder’s pits. The ride lasted 2&1/2 hours and it was really a nice comfortable easy way to spend Saturday morning. The riders were: Jud and Jennette C., Nancy S., Pam F., Sue N., Herb R., Lyn G.,Paula G., Ambrose H. and Rocky ? Thanks for taking over the chore as leader Jud we sure enjoyed it.
Roving Reporter

October President’s Message

Well, we sure had a busy September with STA work on future trails and securing our interests on existing ones!

Our support for the Thornton Road Extension in the Micco- sukee Greenway has been communicated to the Governor and Cabinet. We were not scheduled for the cabinet meeting in August, but were set for September 20th. However, just days before the meeting the item was pulled and no future date has been scheduled. There is concern that the issue has become political fodder between the Governor and the City of Tallahassee. You likely saw some of this friction over the City’s response following Hurricane Hermine. We will keep you posted and continue to hope that for the good of the community and trail users, the revamped trail head will be allowed to move forward with the land exchange between the City and State.

Leon County is moving forward with its plans for the Phase 1 trail head at the St. Marks Headwaters Greenway (Baum Road). It will be about a year before we can expect to be able to ride the just under 4 miles of equestrian trails there. We attended two hearings so far on the issue and have written a letter of support for the proposed project. Most of the people attending the second hearing were interested in the playground area that will be part of Phase 2. Construction of Phase 2 isn’t expected until 2018 because of the wetlands and environmental permits.

We are already discussing plans for our Annual Meeting in January. We will have more details on that next month but if you have an interest to serve on the Board of Directors or as an officer of STA, please let a current board member know.

Finally, the temperatures are dropping and the air is drying out which means one thing: time to join us on rides! We have set the ride schedule for the rest of 2016. There is a fun event for Halloween too where you get to dress us your horse and/or yourself. So load up your horse and come ride with STA.

Happy Trails!


Sept 25, 2016 – St. Marks Rail Trail

It’s 8 a.m. – I walk out to load my mare, Sadie, for the first Sunday ride for STA in quite a while. (Remember the questionnaire you filled out last year on what you wanted to see STA do for members? Some wanted rides on Sunday because of work schedules.) It’s 75 degrees already but this is no worry because Ron has chosen a shady route that is a little different from what we usually take. As I drive down US 90 toward town, I see a horse trailer up in front of me. There are two horses in it – small; Paso Finos, I think. I got excited thinking they were coming on our ride, but, alas, they turned toward Alford Arm! It made me wonder who would be joining us for this Sunday ride.

When I arrived at the trailhead, Ron was already there and had just unloaded his mule, Minnie. We talked for a few minutes and he, too, was wondering how many people would show up. Next came Charlotte with her gelding, Dakota; then Doel with her mare, Snippy. Things were looking up, I thought! Next to arrive was Pam with her mare, Flashy, then Ambrose rolled in with Rocky and a guest, Ashley. Ambrose brought his mare, Sally; Rocky brought her mare, Silk, and Ashley rode Ambrose’s mare, Sabrina. This was the Sunday riding group!

There were several comments about the temperature at the trailhead because the sun was beating down on us since we were parked under the power line. Ron and I assured everyone the ride would be shady and the heat would fade. True to form, that’s what happened! We left the trailhead via the rail trail parking area and took the road just south of the “canal” that separates our trailhead from the national forest. There were a couple of trees down across this road; one we had to go around and one the horses could step over. We then headed south to the main part of the forest and turned east back toward the rail trail. This area is very shaded and was welcomed by all as there was a nice breeze. The road then turned south and took us behind the Marpan Recycling Center. Do you know how big this facility is? Since we were there on Sunday, they weren’t up to “manufacturing speed”, but they had some fans running. None of the horses paid any attention to it. Next to Marpan is another business that deals in funeral supplies. I would give more details but don’t have proper verbage for all the units we saw. Just past the industrial area is a pond the horses really like. They love to eat the grass that grows in the water and a couple of them wanted to drop down for a bath, but didn’t get to do that!
When we left the pond, we headed west and crossed under a power line and ended up near Munson Slew. We didn’t want to get too close to it as we knew that there had been a big spill of sewage due to Hurricane Hermine. We turned north and then took a single track trail to get some diversity. We eventually ended up going back to the trailhead the way we had started out so the horses were excited knowing the ride was just about over.
As I loaded Sadie in the trailer and jumped in the truck, I noticed the temperature was 85 degrees. Not bad, I mused, for a two-hour Sunday ride in late September!
— Sue

Sept 17, 2016 – Alford Arms

Eight folks showed up for the Alford Arms ride on Saturday, 9/17 ready for a fun day. Riders and horses were Sharon on Cricket, Herb H. on General, Doell on Snippy, Ron on Mini; Herb R. on Buddy, Sue on Sadie, Pam on Flashy and Laura on Jewel. I thought it would be a good idea to avoid the large downed tree on the single track trail near the railroad tracks, so we started down the field first. The plan was to cut in later to join up with the single track trail. Well……best laid plans, right? The first cut had a very large hole in the trail that a couple of horses went over, but one did not, so we turned around and went back out to the field. The next cut was eventually blocked by downed trees, sooooo…we turned around and went back out to the field. By now everybody is joking that it’s not your normal trailride, but what does it hurt having a little adventure. (Well, hopefully “everybody” was thinking that). Finally the next cut, we managed to get around another downed tree and then trekked on, enjoying a breeze that may have had a hint of fall in it. (At least that’s what some of us chose to think). There was a bit more standing water next to these trails than I’ve seen before and on the way back, there was actually water on the trail that we waded through, as you can see in one of the pictures. All in all, a little adventure here and there as we enjoyed our 2.5 hour ride. Unfortunately, when we got back to the trailhead, the breeze seemed to have disappeared and it was a rude hot reminder that summer was still here. Oh well – hold that thought that cooler weather is right around the corner and that means more riding. Thanks to all who came out.

September 17th Ride Location Change!

Note that due to tree debris left over from the storm, the September 17th ride will be changed from Phipps Park to Alford Arms.

Board Meeting Date Changed Due to Storm

The September board meeting will be moved to Wednesday, September 14th at 6:30.

2016 Summer Social

What a glorious day for a pool party! A steady arrival of folks started at 3:00pm sharp! Some came early to float in the pool, and others arrived just in time for the feast! The weather was warm with a few light rain showers, but the sun stayed out and there was no thunder so we stayed in the pool! We had a few snacks before dinner and continued to “float” and listen to music. The food that people brought was off the chain! Some of which I must mention: Lyn’s sweet potato casserole and Luanne’s special blueberry cheesecake. Several familiar faces were there that I hadn’t seen in a while, like Wendy and Barry BoVee. I also had the pleasure to meet Ron’s wife Ann, and Wanda’s husband, Randy. It was really great to get together and enjoy each others’ company. Many of us were making plans for upcoming trail rides and looking forward to cooler weather.

I would like to especially thank the folks that showered me with gifts! It was a very nice surprise, and two of the gifts were actually home-made which makes them even more special. I know I had a wonderful time! — Wendy

Saturday afternoon started out with a quick rain shower, but fortunately it cleared and became a perfect day for a summer swim/social party. Many of us enjoyed lounging in the Trawick’s beautifully landscaped pool while others enjoyed munching snacks on the spacious deck. And of course dinner was delicious – we enjoyed spiral cut ham, along with a wide variety of side dishes and yummy desserts. Next time you see Linda V. ask her about her special experience at the party☺. Thanks again to Wendy and Curt for opening up your house to all of us. A great time was had by all!!! — Sharon